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Governor Hochul Announces $10 Million in Funding for Fashion Innovation Center During New York Fashion Week


Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $10 million in State funding for the Fashion Innovation Center, which will promote a collaborative approach to utilizing New York State-produced smart and sustainable textiles. Empire State Development will spearhead the creation of a consortium-led FIC, which will utilize expertise from New York State universities, farms, fashion industry leaders, and non-profit organizations. The FIC will focus on addressing fashion industry needs, utilizing New York State-produced crops for fiber materials, and cultivating technology that advances sustainability and innovation through wearable technologies in the fashion and textile industries. The FIC will also include a Sustainable Fashion Innovation Center Accelerator, focused on the creation of smart and sustainable alternatives that solve large scale industry problems, create green jobs, promote state-sourced textiles, and support sustainable fashion.

Governor Hochul announced the new FIC during New York Fashion Week, which lasts from September 7 through September 14. In recognition of the industry-wide event, the Governor attended the Coach fashion show in New York City.

“As the fashion capital of the world, New York is the perfect fit for cutting-edge solutions to make this booming industry more innovative and more sustainable,” Governor Hochul said. “The Fashion Innovation Center will foster collaboration across fashion, agriculture, and other industries to to reduce our environmental footprint, limit waste and create opportunity across New York State.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Agriculture is an important part of New York State’s economy and as the fashion industry moves to a more sustainable future, we must capitalize on the opportunity to connect the agriculture and fashion industries, both vital to the future of our State. The new Fashion Innovation Center will make New York State a leader in promoting locally produced sustainable fibers, grow jobs, and help achieve Governor Hochul’s nation-leading climate goals.”

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Locally produced textiles, and the farmers that make them, are an important part of New York agriculture. We’re excited that the Fashion Innovation Center’s promotion of New York State farmers and manufacturers producing fiber and textiles supports our State economy and local communities while focusing on environmental sustainability – a win-win-win for all.”

Globally, the fashion and textile industry contributes 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually — more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. This is due to the heavy reliance on fossil fuels, decentralized supply chains, and improper end of life product disposal. New technologies and material processing approaches offer the potential for more “smart” and “sustainable” fashion, and New York’s farms currently produce the needed raw materials, such as linen, flax, cotton, and hemp that can transformed into textiles that can be used in these applications on a larger scale.

Sustainable textiles are the future of fashion, and New York State is poised to lead the way in the ecologically responsible production of these materials. Smart textiles are a cutting-edge industry that have applications for countless professions, from athletes to first responders and medical professionals.

Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation will issue a Request for Proposals to select the consortium, which will include universities, businesses, farmers, fashion industry leaders, and non-profits. The Accelerator, housed within the FIC, will provide space to early-stage companies working on promising developments in the field, which are strong candidates for commercialization and can be challenged with solving the real issues of industry partners.

The FIC will solicit, evaluate, and oversee projects focused on addressing industry challenges and opportunities, with priority given to those involving the use of New York State crops and material inputs, and cultivating technology that accelerates sustainability in the fashion and textile industry. Through a competitive process, the FIC will provide grant funding to New York State small businesses in the fashion industry, offering a critical connection between industry leaders and innovation and supporting projects that aim to improve industry sustainability.

State Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “Sustainable textiles are not only the future of fashion but the future of a burgeoning farm-to-fabric industry that small New York fiber farmers are already leading. With this exciting new innovation center at New York Fashion Week and support for industry-generating legislation, like my bill, The New York Textile Act (S8741A), we can make New York a powerhouse producer of environmentally friendly textiles for use in every sector where fabric is needed. Scaling up New York’s homegrown textile industry is a clear homerun for our economy and our fight against the climate crisis, and I thank Governor Hochul for her partnership in building a more sustainable future.”

Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said, “I am so pleased to see these elements of the Textile Act coming to fruition. There is so much potential in the fusion of creativity and technology and the intersection of fiber and fashion. New York has the resources for every aspect of this project including farmers, innovators, and fashion infrastructure. I commend Governor Hochul’s establishment of the Fashion Innovation Center.”

Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, “We have worked for some time to elevate the potential of NY grown textiles produced from hemp and animal fiber. There is a real excitement about the number of opportunities this industry can provide, along with a real need to address the many challenges they are facing. I’d like to thank the Governor, and my colleagues for their interest and commitment to this new Center. And especially to Assemblymember Carrie Woerner who is a strong proponent of “farm to fashion” on our Assembly Agriculture Committee.”

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.



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